Mayor Dr. Gold Holds ‘Office Hours’

At the Jan. 24 installment of “Office Hours with Dr. Gold,” the monthly community forum hosted by Beverly Hills Mayor Dr. Julian Gold, discussion topics ranged from affordable housing issues to the future financial success of the city, upcoming events and the March 5 City Council election. 

“We’re going to replace two long-time council members, which would be councilmember Bosse and myself,” Gold said. “So that in and of itself probably is a significant shift in what’s going to happen in the city, and how that intersects with everything else that’s going on.”

While the Wilshire/La Cienega subway stop, which was expected to open in the fall of this year, has been delayed to 2026, Gold noted there would be a push to have it ready in time for the Olympics. Adjacent to the Beverly Hilton and Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, construction for the One Beverly Hills project will break ground next week and is expected to open in 2027. 

A handful of community members had questions and concerns regarding the housing element lawsuit and the city’s appeal to the Los Angeles County Superior Court judgment that would restrict new building permit approvals until they meet the state’s housing requirements. 

“We have to create affordable housing, and we have to create housing which is affordable,” Mayor Gold said. “The council gets it. We’re working on it.”

At its Jan. 23 meeting, the City Council approved an ordinance that amended the Mixed-Use Overlay Zone regulations and changed the maximum density for residential conversion projects. 

With this change, the minimum unit size of 500 square feet will determine the maximum number of units that can be converted to housing in an existing commercial building.

“We all know that in the world of Amazon, the world of COVID, work from home, and all the rest, the utilization of commercial buildings has diminished,” Gold added.

In the last few months of his term, one resident asked Gold how he hopes to be remembered. 

“This is my 13th year, and I would hope that as I leave office, people feel that I did a good job. That I served the public well.” 

Gold also spearheaded the formation of the Next Beverly Hills committee to engage young people in the city. Other projects ended in disappointment, such as Cheval Blanc Beverly Hills. 

“The people spoke, and Cheval Blanc did not happen, but it’s left a gap,” Gold said regarding the financial future of the city. “Not that we were counting on the revenue, but nonetheless, the inflation of our costs continues, and we still have to deal with what will ultimately come to be a gap in revenue versus expense. So, the next council is going to have to deal with that.”